JetBlue Airways is tightening up its in-flight protocol amid the coronavirus pandemic by banning facial coverings with vents or valves, and barring customers from claiming exemptions to wearing the PPE altogether. The low-cost carrier will also continue blocking middle seats until Oct. 15.
The New York-based airline announced the changes on Wednesday, citing the updates as an expansion of its Safety from the Ground Up program amid the COVID-19 health crisis.
Starting Aug. 10, JetBlue is prohibiting face masks with vents or exhalation valves; the carrier will also bar passengers from claiming exemptions from wearing facial coverings.
“The simple act of wearing a proper face covering is one way we can all help ensure the safety of all JetBlue crewmembers and customers,” JetBlue president and COO Joanna Geraghty said in a statement. “Our terminals and airplanes are a shared space, and every customer must wear a proper face covering or will need to delay their travel on JetBlue until face coverings are no longer required.”
“Our policy is meant to offer the strongest level of protection for everyone given all that we currently know about how COVID-19 is transmitted.”
The first carrier to mandate face masks during check-in, boarding and in-flight, JetBlue policy now states that customers who refuse to wear the required PPE will not be allowed to board planes, period. What’s more, customers who refuse to comply with crew member requests to wear facial coverings in the high skies will be reviewed for future travel.
Passengers under the age of two are not required to wear a face covering, and the airline will provide masks for customers if their PPE “does not appear sufficient” in coverings the traveler’s nose and mouth.
In addition, to increase physical distancing in the fight against the viral disease, JetBlue will continue blocking middle seats on larger aircraft, as well as aisle seats on smaller aircraft, among passengers who are not traveling together. This mandate will be effective for all flights through at least Oct. 15.
The budget carrier is also extending its Go Back and Forth with Confidence initiative through Oct. 15, waiving change and cancellation fees for new bookings.
JetBlue joins competitors Delta Air Lines, Alaska Airlines and Spirit Airlines in banning face masks with exhaust valves, TravelPulse reports